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How can I adequately deal with either pirate or nations who raid trade routes? It seems no matter how many fleets I create I always end up with an area that is susceptible to raiding.

I know with pirates I can just take over their occupied areas, but for other nations it seems to be a sticking point. One or two trade routes can wreck my economy, but having a large fleet to cover every inch does the same. That's even with upgrading all farms etc to max.

If we take the Barbary States for example, they will disrupt trade early in the game and I can only deal with them via launching a ships to fight, launching ships to invade and take them over, or making peace. All of these options disrupt early starting positions to trade in the trade routes.

Typically I play as the British / English if that helps.

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Piracy of sea routes is certainly a problem for the British Empire, especially as you have no land trade routes to your capital region.

The Barbary fleets are a bit of a joke - a couple of small squadrons of 3 or 4 fifth or even sixth rate ships should be able to dispatch them easily enough. Just beware of French or Spanish fleets if you're at war with them. Caribbean pirates are tougher.

My naval strategy as the British is to get 3 fleets (one to protect the home ports, one to transport troops to Canada and then patrol the Caribbean, and one to deal with ships in Atlantic/Mediterranean) near the start - and add another couple of fleets after getting absorbing the 13 Colonies. Each fleet has a pair of 4th, 5th and 6th rate ships, and an admiral.

By the time you've got the 13 Colonies, and built a couple of trading ports in the Americas, you're less reliant on the Mediterranean trade routes.

Trade route piracy is not as damaging as a blockaded port - especially if those ports are Bristol or London. An enemy ship can park inside your port and cannot be attacked by naval units. To protect against this, I park a single militia regiment in every port. It doesn't prevent a blockade, but you will be able to attack the enemy fleet the next turn and restore trade - the best thing to do is have a fleet in Southampton, as you can easily reach the enemy blockading Bristol and London.

Always repair ships as soon as possible, and take the prize money from captured ships.

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